Sheffield United: 'Other' World Cup star should benefit from Qatar bounce effect

Adam Davies will return to Sheffield United a better player following his World Cup experience, manager Paul Heckingbottom has predicted, despite failing to appear in any of the games Wales contested before bowing out of the tournament.
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After recovering from injury in time to travel to Qatar, Davies was an unused substitute for Robert Page’s side during Tuesday’s defeat by England at the Ahmed bin Ali Stadium. Having entered that contest on the back of a draw with the USA and a defeat to Iran, Davies and his international team mates are now travelling back to Cardiff where they will hold a debriefing session before being allowed to disperse.

Heckingbottom said: “Adam was buzzing to be going. You can only take positive things away from an experience like this. How can it not improve you, no matter what happens?

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“You see different things, different systems, different ways of doing things and experience new environments and ideas and tactics. That can only make you better, knowing that you’re out there with the best in the world.”

With their leading names Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey both failing to spark, Wales will be desperately disappointed with the quality of their performances. But Davies could discover he has moved up the international pecking order when Page’s men return to action in March. Danny Ward, who deputised for the suspended Wayne Hennessy against Gareth Southgate’s men, was already a controversial choice before producing the type of error strewn display which could see Davies become Page’s unofficial number two.

Davies is set to feature on United’s squad list when Huddersfield Town visit Bramall Lane next weekend. But Iliman Ndiaye’s participation in that fixture could be in doubt. The United forward, who is expected to be named in Senegal’s starting eleven for Sunday’s last 16 tie against England, will definitely miss out if the African champions progress. But even if Aliou Cisse’s men fail to advance, it would be a big ask to pitch Ndiaye straight back into action less than a week after his exertions in the Middle East. Oli McBurnie, who has also scored nine times for United so far this season, is recovering from hernia and ankle complaints.